The Animal Husbandry Technician is a member of the Animal Resource Center (ARC) animal husbandry team. The animal husbandry technician is responsible for the day-to-day care of research animals according to established protocols and in compliance with applicable regulations. This position will maintain the health and well-being of research animals and monitor animals to identify health-related problems, dietary needs, overcrowding and cage conditions. The husbandry technician is primarily responsible for identifying and documenting conditions that adversely affect the health of the animals. This documentation provides researchers and veterinary personnel with critical information to ensure that research progresses without interruptions caused by disease, damaged equipment and overcrowded conditions. The husbandry technician also has the primary responsibility of administering special diets, assuring animals have adequate water and food and administering any other special needs.
Animal Resource Center staff members are responsible for maintaining the health and well-being of the university's research animals; and therefore, play a vital role in supporting the School of Medicine's research efforts. Animal husbandry technicians and all other Animal Resource Center staff must enjoy working with and caring for animals and appreciate the value of animals in research. The university's animal facilities are accredited by the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) and is managed according to the "Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals appropriate Federal Animal Welfare Regulations, and the Public Health Service Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals." This position, and all animal research personnel, are subject to internal compliance to ARC standard operating procedures and to compliance regulations of the Animal Welfare Act, Public Health Service Policy, AAALAC guidelines, the State of Ohio Veterinary Practice Act, Federal Drug Enforcement Administration regulatory guidelines, US Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine regulations and other applicable regulatory guidelines.
- Feed and water animals, change cage bedding, change animals from dirty to clean cages and disinfect animal quarters. Observe animals during this process and note and report anything unusual that may indicate problems with the animals such as health related problems, housing/caging, overcrowded conditions, food or water problems. (34%)
- Inspect animals in assigned area daily and reports abnormalities to animal husbandry manager, team leader and/or veterinary staff. (10%)
- Use a handheld or stationary tablet device to perform animal health observations, animal inventory and daily checklist in a data software application. (10%)
- Perform routine housekeeping duties to maintain animal rooms. Clean and keep areas neat and free of clutter per United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) guides (counters, sinks, carts, etc.). (8%)
- Remove dead animals from cages, tag and label with identifying data, prepare death certificates, and place in post-mortem refrigerator and notify responsible veterinarian. (6%)
- Assist research investigators and attending veterinarians in handling, manipulation and treatment of animals within the Animal Resource Center. Following specific instructions, administer medication or experimental materials to animals. (6%)
- Maintain compliance to ARC policies and all applicable regulations for animal research care and attend training as required. (6%)
- Wear necessary personal protective clothing and equipment per policy; take additional precautions when assigned to special areas housing animals, e.g., in microisolators, laminar flow hoods, those under quarantine or animals used for radioisotope, carcinogen or other biohazard research. Observe special precautions for handling and the disposal of contaminated material per established protocols. (6%)
- Uncrate newly arrived animals and place them in cages and label appropriately, taking care to record all necessary information and ensure that animals are properly housed. (4%)
- Postmortem room maintenance and euthanasia. Observe all animals in postmortem and make sure all cages have feed and water. Euthanize rodent cages using CO2. Thoroughly clean table, floors and counters. (3%)
- Food preparation. Set up the hood using Micro-isolator technique, transfer the food pellets from the standard food bags into sterile container. Label the container with prepared food labels. (3%)
- Wash cages as needed, receive and store bedding materials and food supplies. (2%)
- Perform other related duties as may be assigned by animal husbandry manager, operations manager, and/or team leaders. (2%)
Department: Daily contact with other employees to assist with daily job assignments. Daily contact with supervisor regarding ongoing activities and standard operating procedural issues.
University: Daily contact with investigative staff regarding daily investigative needs, special animal care needs, and requests for additional services, as well as, providing equipment availability status.
External: Regular contact with suppliers of animals and animal care products and feed to ensure the timely arrival of both animals and materials.
Students: Regular contact with student employees regarding daily investigative needs, special animal care needs, and requests for additional services, as well as, providing equipment availability status.
This position has no direct supervision of staff employees.
Experience: 0 to 3 months of related experience required, preferably in laboratory animal facility. The employee will receive regular on-the-job training in responsibilities and in recognizing basic signs of animal health, chemical safety, microbiological and physical hazards associated with the workplace, and handling of animal waste materials.
Education: High school education required.
- Must demonstrate compliance with Animal Resource Center policies and procedures and compliance to regulations of the Animal Welfare Act, Public Health Service Policy, AAALAC guidelines and other applicable regulatory guidelines.
- Must demonstrate compassion for animals within the Center facilities and dedication to the Center's mission. Must handle animals with care and respect at all times.
- Previous experience working with animals preferred.
- Individuals with an interest to pursue a career in veterinary services or animal care/training strongly desired.
- Ability to assist veterinary technicians handing, restraining and administering substances to a wide range of animal species including but not limited to rodents, rabbits, dogs, cats, and livestock.
- Effective oral and written communication skills; and good interpersonal skills with the ability to work and communicate with various individuals within and external to the university. Must be able to articulately relay information to researcher, management and veterinary services personnel regarding, both verbally and in writing, regarding animal health and well-being and possible or observed problems.
- Good organization skills: ability to multi-task, prioritize and meet deadlines. Must demonstrate attention to detail and accuracy, time management, and follow-through. Must be observant of issues that might impact the animals' health and well-being.
- Ability to work effectively independently and collaboratively within a team. Must demonstrate sound judgment and good decision-making.
- Must demonstrate flexibility and ability to work under pressure; must be able and willing to work in a fast-paced, changing environment, and conform to shifting priorities, demands and timelines.
- Basic computer skills.
- Must demonstrate willingness to learn new concepts, protocols, procedures, processes, and computer programs as needed.
- Must be able and willing to assist veterinary services staff with handling animals and assisting cage washing if need.
- Must be able and willing to maintain a high standard of personal cleanliness and utilize protective gear to protect the health the animals.
- Ability to interact with colleagues, supervisors and customers face to face.
- Ability to meet consistent attendance.
This position will work directly with laboratory animals, including rodents, rabbits, dogs, cats, pigs, sheep, goats, and non-human primates. Animal bites, scratches, kicks, etc., may be encountered, as well as unpleasant odors, noises and temperatures associated with working with animals, soiled cages, and other equipment. The incumbent must pass a physical examination, including tuberculin test and/or chest x-ray (to be repeated periodically).
There is a necessity for completing the job before leaving work. Animal care cannot be held over to the next day. Animal care is a 7-day per week, 365-days per year job. All tasks must be performed in compliance with the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (NRC2011), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Public Health Service, and the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC). Compliance with any university, state, and local regulations is also enforced. An individual will be scheduled to work for every third weekend and every third holiday. The Animal Resource Center adheres to a strict attendance policy.
This position may have direct contact with, or have exposure to, the following biological and chemical hazards: bloodborne pathogens, chemical agents (hazardous agents as well as routine cleaning agents), select agents and infectious agents (including zoonotic diseases), waste from prion-injected animals (generally trace amounts), exposure to radiation from isotope-injected animals (generally trace amounts), X-rays, human blood and tissue, animal blood and tissue, and formaldehyde. May sustain cuts from broken water bottles and sharp edges of cages, burns from steam and hot water used in cleaning procedures, dermatitis resulting from exposure to strong cleaning compounds and insecticides and organic chemicals.
This position requires baseline evaluation of hearing and vision. This position may require the ability to independently lift or assist with lifting animals ranging from small to large in size. Strain or accident associated with frequent moving of heavy (up to 50 lbs.) equipment and animals, feed sacks, and bagged or baled bedding. Where appropriate, the nature of this position may require the use of a respirator (must have prior health evaluation) or surgical mask. This position also requires baseline evaluation of hearing and vision. Hazards to health and safety are minimized by prior training and proper instruction in handling animals, and operation of equipment. Training and personal protective equipment (hearing, eyewear, gowns, respirator and gloves) will be provided. This position may require travel by driving to satellite facilities on campus, as well as off campus to MetroHealth Medical Center, the VA Medical Center, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, as well as transport of biohazardous waste including clinical samples, human blood or tissue, animals, contaminated equipment, etc. This position is subject to an FBI background check and fingerprinting.